Human Resources: Managers Warned of Bullying

the Canberra Institute of Technology owes an apology to victims of workplace bullying there over the years, according to the territory’s Public Service Commissioner.

But according to the long-awaited official report on the allegations that have dogged the school for years, accusations of a toxic culture and systematic bullying have been blown out of proportion.

Nevertheless, ACT taxpayers have already paid $670,000 for a team of specialist investigators to look into the bullying claims and the spending looks set to continue, with 19 misconduct investigations still under way over eight employees.

Commissioner Andrew Kefford’s report on the years of controversy at CIT has been published by the ACT government and contains eight recommendations for reform, with an apology to victims the first item on the agenda for change.

Mr Kefford also wants to see changes to the workplace culture at CIT and a commitment to more transparent management and better complaints handling.

The commissioner was called in to investigate after an “improvement notice” from WorkSafe ACT in April 2012 ordering CIT to put its house in order and provide a workplace safe from bullying and harassment.

In his report, Mr Kefford says that complaints from 42 past and present workers at CIT over a 10-year period provided clear evidence that all was not right at CIT for a significant period of time.

“The fact that complaints were received about the workplace experiences of 42 current and former CIT employees covering more than 10 years is clearly evidence in the institute’s management of people,” Mr Kefford wrote. “That some of these matters are still contested is evidence in itself that the process used to deal with those issues could have been done better.”

Mr Kefford noted the allegations were “not large in number” in an organisation with 1000 staff and more than 20,000 students, but he found that, in some cases, inept handling of bullying complaints made matters worse.

“It is unfortunate that the way in which a small number of cases workplace issues have been managed has made things worse, not better,” he wrote.

Despite the referral of eight individuals from CIT for investigation for misconduct under the Public Service Management Act, Mr Kefford said most of the complaints fell “into the category of failings in management of workplace issues”.

He also found the public portrayal of CIT throughout the controversy had been unduly negative.

“The public portrayal of CIT has sometimes been of an agency characterised by entrenched and systematic workplace bullying,” Mr Kefford wrote.”That is not, and has not been, the case. It would be a significant and damaging overstatement to describe the overall culture of CIT as toxic.”

Despite the desire of CIT and the ACT government’s Education Directorate to move on from the controversy, Mr Kefford conceded that some present and former staff were likely to remain unhappy with the investigation into their complaints.

“There will always be cases where individuals remain unhappy at the end of an investigation or review process,” he wrote.

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Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/apologies-for-bullying-in-order-probe-finds-20130927-2uk5n.html#ixzz2gEashDLW

Human Resources:Workplace Bullying Code of Practice Criticized By Companies

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Some of the nation’s most prominent businesses fear newly proposed rules on workplace bullying which they fear will force them to monitor the social networking of employees, which could also expose themselves to bullying claims by workers.

Safe Work Australia released  a draft code of practice on bullying,  but a coalition of 200 companies – many in the top 100 – are rallying against a code that could be used in court actions, alleging that bullying is extremely subjective and employee social media is out of their control outside of working hours.

The companies feel that social media the number one weapon bully’s use  but if they monitor social media pages of their employees, that in itself could be construed as bullying.

The draft code reports that bullying can be done via email or text messages, internet chat rooms, instant messaging or other social media channels.

 Safe Work Australia report that the implementation of the code could cost the country $237 million at first, but then $104m a year after that. They believe this is much better compared to the estimated  $6 billion and $36bn cost to business because of bullying.

The office of Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten remarked that feedback on the code would be  “appropriately considered in due course”. The office said the government had recently introduced provisions to the Fair Work Act to tackle “the scourge of workplace bullying” as it had a dreadful human cost and was a significant cost to the economy.

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Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/workplace-bullying-code-puts-firms-in-a-bind/story-fn59noo3-1226680427114

Human Resources: WorkCover Undergoes Inquiry For Bullying

Human ResourcesThe state government authority responsible for protecting injured workers will soon be the subject of a bullying inquiry.

The NSW government has backed the parliamentary inquiry into WorkCover  following a NSW Industrial Relations report of workplace bullying. This report emerged when a senior employee was allegedly bullied out of his job.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, who put forth the idea for an inquiry, has welcomed the government’s support. . ”It is completely unacceptable to have ongoing bullying in WorkCover which is the government body tasked with protecting all employees from harassment in the workplace,” he said.

”This most recent finding by the IRC raises serious concerns about the culture of WorkCover.

”There have been ongoing concerns within WorkCover of systematic bullying and mistreatment of staff for years, yet despite reviews and promises it seems nothing has changed.”

Mr Shoebridge cited 2011 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers which found 40 per cent of WorkCover employees reported experiencing harassment and bullying.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/workcover-bullying-inquiry-20130627-2p01n.html#ixzz2XpPIrtVN

Human Resources: FWC Struggles With Surge in Bullying Claims

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) will struggle to  deal with a sudden overflow of bullying claims once the federal government delegates control of bullying complaints to the workplace tribunal. The warning comes from the employment legal centre JobWatch which claims the tribunal could be required to handle more than 10,000 bullying complaints a year.

A Senate committee is considering the bullying proposals as part of proposed changes by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten to the Fair Work Act. Under the changes the commission would be required to list any application for consideration within 14 days. It will be able to make orders to deal with the complaint as well as refer matters to the relevant state regulator. Failure to comply with an order of the commission would attract a maximum penalty of up to $33,000.

In a submission to the committee, JobWatch welcomed the 14-day time limit but questioned the commission’s capacity to “deal with what will undoubtedly be a massive influx of stop bullying applications”. In the 12 months to July 2011, WorkSafe Victoria received more than 6000 complaints about workplace bullying. “If this figure is extrapolated across all Australian states and territories, even by a conservative estimate, the FWC is going to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of stop bullying applications per year, possibly even more than 10,000,” it says.

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Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/fwc-faces-massive-influx-of-bully-claims/story-fn59noo3-1226629608512

Human Resources: Etter Accuses Governor of Bullying

Workplace bullyingBarbera Etter, former head of Tasmania’s Integrity Commission, has accused the State Governor of bullying. These accusations come nearly a year after Etter quit her job as Integrity Commissioner, one year into a five-year contract with the government. 

Etter claims that she experienced bullying at work, and that the governer created a hostile work environment. She alleges her reputation and career prospects have been tarnished, and is seeking damages and costs from the State Government. 

A statement of claim to the Supreme Court includes examples of behaviour designed to bully her and undermine her position. Among the examples is her name being erased from a whiteboard of commissioners while she was still employed in September 2011. 

Representation of the Government argued that Ms.Etter could not prove any of the individuals mentioned were acting with the authority of the State. 

Ms. Etter maintains that the state had allowed a workplace that was impossible for her to do her job. 
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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-07/etter-outlines-damages-case/4358402?section=tas

Human Resources: Union Boss Fined For Bullying Workers

Famed WA union boss Joe McDonald again been fined for bullying employees at a construction site. The most recent fine against Mr McDonald and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union takes the combined total  against the pair to  over $1 million since 2005, according to Fair Work Building and Construction.

Revealed in the Federal Magistrates Court, Mr McDonald, the CFMEU WA assistant secretary, said that if Herdsman Business Park i workers weren’t a member of the union they could “F**king go and find” employment elsewhere. There are no requirements for workers to be union members.

During a meeting with the employees of various subcontractors, Mr McDonald said he would close down the site because there were not enough amenities or toilets and the scaffolding was not safe. Two other CFMEU officers also instructed workers to stop work and leave the site. All but four did for the rest of the day. The court heard that shortly after, the site manager told Mr McDonald he had arranged for additional toilets for the site, but Mr Donald responded “I don’t care, the men aren’t going back to work”. Mr McDonald was found guilty of unlawful industrial action and making false and misleading statements about workers’ requirements to join the union and fined $6380. The union was fined $28,600 plus $15,000 in costs to be paid to FWBC. Mr McDonald and the CFMEU have been embroiled in numerous legal cases relating to bullying of workers at WA construction sites.

They were recently ordered to pay a $200,000 penalty for engaging in a targeted industrial campaign against the same company on another site. Last year Mc McDonald lost an appeal against a $8000 fine for taking unlawful strike action at City Square in the CBD on July 15, 2009. He had encouraged workers with occupational health and safety concerns to walk off the job for the day. The union also was fined $40,000 for the illegal action. FWBC chief executive Leigh Johns said Mr McDonald was misusing union members’ fees. “Mr McDonald is a recidivist who regularly flouts workplace laws and then turns up to court with no defence, ready to do a deal using CFMEU members’ funds,” Mr Johns said. “While we welcome the court’s handing down the penalties and costs, the fact is that Mr McDonald has wasted the court’s time, as well as some $250,000 worth of union funds in recent weeks alone. “If Mr McDonald stopped his pattern of unlawful behaviour, hard-working members of his union would be better off, in both their industrial outcomes, and through savings of some $1 million his actions have cost them in penalties since 2005.”

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Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/union-boss-penalties-top-1m-after-bullying-fines-20121010-27czy.html#ixzz293TI2dms

Human Resources: Survey Says a Third of Public Workforce Witness Bullying

Workplace BullyingThe state government survey of thousands of Victorian public workers revealed that over one-third had witnessed an incident of workplace bullying since last September.

Another two-fifths claim to have been at the receiving end of bullying, three per cent of which had submitted a formal complaint.

 

Approximately 62,600 public service workers   were asked to participate in the survey and a reported 18,500 people responded. This large sample reportedly indicate that the results are “highly reliable” due to the large size of the sample.

The opposition implied that the results indicate a growing problem in Victoria’s public workforce. They believe the problem is compounded by the Baillieu Government’s intention to cull 4200 bureaucrats.
Victorian Parliament passed “Brodie’s Law” law year which reformed existing offences of stalking  so that it clearly covers serious bullying or harassment.  Now the new legislation potentially covers threats and abusive language or any act that seems to indicate stalking.

WorkSafe has yet to prosecute a state government department for bullying despite rumours of a growing culture of stress within the public service in areas such as youth justice and prisons.

The extent of workplace bullying in Australia is undetermined, which enforces the beliefs of some that a Senate inquiry is currently needed.

The extent of bullying in Australian workplaces is unclear – a reason for a Senate inquiry into the issue under way at the moment. Reports have indicates that Victoria suffers from a “relatively high figure” number of  bullying and harassment incidents due to a workplace education campaign that potentially put mental stress.

The median average of weeks taken off by victims of workplace bullies was 13.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/a-third-of-public-service-witness-bullying-20120912-25ssk.html#ixzz26aBJ8dYi

Bully Sets Worker on Fire; Leads to Calls for Law Reform

Law pundits believe a bullying case where a young man was set aflame by a co-worker shows serious problems with the Occupational Health and Safety scheme

Nick Clements stated that he was squired with a highly flammable cleansing solvent and then was subsequently set on fire by a co-worker at Haeusler’s farm machinery dealership in Victoria. Clements, who had been diagnosed with high functioning autism as a child, was nine days into a two-week trial period when the incident occurred.  Clements was reportedly squirted in the crotch with the flammable substance.

Nathan Frizzle, the apprentice who set Clemments on fire is still employed  at Haeusler’s after pleading guilty to  the assault.Frizzle was  granted a 12-month good behaviour bond and a just a $500 fine.

Prior to the court ruling, WorkSafe,  decided it would not take any action because of the police charges.With most options expired, the Clements family plans to lodge a victims-of-crime complaint with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

WorkSafe’s decision has left Clements and his family very disappointed.

“I find it a disgusting outcome. It feels like a real spit in the face to see what he got,”  said Clements.

Famed anti-bullying lawyer Moira Rayner is heading efforts to establish  a national tribunal to allow civil claims.Rayner believes WorkSafe’s behavior to Clements is not exclusive to him and the watchdog organisation should have done much more to help him

“I have always regarded bullying as a failure by management and all our bullying law is unsatisfactory because they don’t give the individual a personal right of redress,” she said.

“If they make a WorkCover claim or a WorkSafe claim and it doesn’t end up because of technicalities in addressing their problems, then the person who’s been bullied, victimised and psychologically if not physically harmed may well have on top of that a sense of grave injustice.

“When someone could have been killed in a classic apprentice-playing-with-fire incident, there should have been an immediate and effective intervention in the workplace so the employer, the employees and the apprentices got the message very loud and clear that this could have ended up in a manslaughter charge.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-10/calls-for-workplace-law-reform-after-man-set-alight-by-co-worker/4253808?section=vic

Workplace Bullying: A Large Yet Avoidable Cost to the Public

Workplace BullyingRecently there have been a rise in the number of Workplace Bullying incidents that have been reported by the media. In light of this, and PM Gillard’s recent vow to put workplace on the national agenda, we at AlertForce decided to provide you all with some information relating to the Human Resources issue of Workplace Bullying.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying involves any behavior in which an employee is physically, mentally or socially threatened.

What to look out for:

  • frequent painful remarks or verbal attacks, or making fun of your work or you as a person (family, sex, sexuality, gender identity, race or culture, education or economic background)
  • sexual harassment – including any unwelcome physical contact and  comments and requests  that are sexually suggestive
  • excluding you or stopping you from working with people or taking part in activities that relates to your work
  • psychological harassment — group of  individuals ganging up on a single person
  • any type of intimidation, belittlement or making someone appear inferior or undervalued
  • Assigning pointless tasks that have absolutely nothing to do with your job.
  • Granting unrealistic deadlines for impossible jobs
  • pushing, shoving, tripping, grabbing you while at work
  • initiation or hazing : Being compelled to do humiliating or inappropriate things in order to be accepted as part of the team.

 How big of a problem is Workplace Bullying? Is it my’problem even if I’m not bullied?

Workplace bullying has resulted in an ever growing cost to public. Is it your problem? The short answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’. According to the  PM Gillard’s review implemented by The Productivity Commission : the total cost of workplace bullying in Australia is somewhere between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.

As a tax payer, this type of problem affects you. You may ask yourself ” How can I solve this problem? Isn’t it out of my hands?”. Well, it is up to us as employers or employees, to ensure that proper Human Resources training and anti-bullying training is provided to all employees.  If everyone from the bullies to the bullied, understand the risks and the costs and subsequently the effects on business — then this issue can one day be eliminated or at least  helped.

“Costs on Businesses ? What Kind of Costs?!”

Financial costs can include legal and workers’ compensation and management time in addressing cases of workplace bullying.

Individuals who are bullied at work are shown to;

  • become less active,less successful and less confident at work.
  • become fearful,stressed, anxious or depressed thus limited productivity
  • increased staff absences, staff turnover and weak overall workplace morale.

It may be tempting for an employer to overlook something like workplace bullying and focus on more immediate workplace dangers, but the simple fact is — these problems CAN  be avoided, these costs CAN be avoided  —  But  it is up to everyone to bring these issues to light so that everyone can be successful and no one is bullied at work.

Find more information on Human Resources issues (such as Workplace Bullying)

Human Resources: A Tragic Result of Workplace Bullying

Workplace BullyingAn inquiry into workplace bullying has revealed a case involving the suicides of a brother and sister as a result of the brother being bullied and sexually abused in his first full-time job.

The parliamentary inquiry revealed that the teenage boy  left high school at age 16 to start work as an apprentice chef at a local hospital. It was at this hospital he experienced an ingrained culture of workplace bullying in the hospital kitchen. He was at the end of constant put-downs,jokes, sexual innuendo, tampering with his possessions and eventually, sexual abuse.

The brother was reportedly being bullied consistently for two years by his immediate supervisor and co-workers.

The culture of bullying in the kitchen had allegedly become so ingrained that many long-standing members of staff  became used to it and subsequently turned a blind eye or laughed along with the taunting.

About the inquiry:

  • The impacts of workplace bullying in Australia could be as high as $36 billion every year
  • The committee in investigating what can be done to prevent workplace bullying
  • Submissions are still open to the public, with the committee to report its findings to parliament in due course
More info on Human Resources

Source: http://www.ipswichadvertiser.com.au/story/2012/08/17/tragic-effects-workplace-bullying/

Human Resources: Report Alleges Serious Bullying Problem at Universities

Workplace BullyingAn academic professional has released a report alleging that bullying has become a widespread problem in Australian universities and should be investigated across the tertiary sector.

Sarah Gregson’s Report into Workplace Bullying at UNSW, was initially reported in Herald early this year, and revealed a culture of bullying and intimidation at the post-secondary institute. It has since been submitted to a federal inquiry into workplace bullying . Gregson, an academic at the institute and the local branch representative of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), stated her intention to lobby the union to extend her survey throughout a multitude of institutions.

Gregson has reportedly sent the report to a variety of activists throughout the union. She stated that the activists seem to be aware of many of the issues and believe a continual campaign is required. It is her hope that a parliamentary inquiry would recommend an improved legislation in the area.

An email to staff from Neil Morris, VP of university services at UNSW rejected the claims made in Gregson’s report. Morris claimed that there was no pattern of bullying and the methods of research were not dependable.

Morris stated that survey methodology was flawed because of numerous factors. He cited the surveys broad definition of “bullying” and numerous other situations as reasons why the survey is not sound. He also stated that the number of complaints and the amount of staff the survey claims to have been bullied do not correlate. The report revealed that majority of the 552 participants had experiences or observed bullying behaviours. 68 percent of participants said they had been bullied while 83 percent had been a witness.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/tertiary-bullying-needs-action-says-academic-20120719-22d52.html#ixzz21DdXoYgS

Unions Call for Jail Time for Serious Bullying Cases

Workplace BullyingUnions are pushing for the use of jail terms for cases of workplace bullying. Recently the The Australian Council of Trade Unions’ submitted a  motion to a parliamentary committee recommending an increase in the severity of penalties for individuals accused of workplace bullying. The recommendation discusses the potential of implementing jail terms for extreme cases, and increase in  recognition that employers have a responsibility to ensure that their workplace is bully-free.

The ACTU discussed the findings of the Productivity Commission which revealed through research that workplace bullying costs the economy between $6 and $36 billion a year.

ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick, provided evidence to the  inquiry in Melbourne.  While Borowick stated her support for stronger and more severe penalties, she did however emphasize the importance of a shift in workplace culture which would thereby ensure that such bullying never occurs.

Employer body, the Australian Industry Group  stated that employers were vehemently against any form of bullying and matters of bullying are treated with importance.

More info on Human Resources

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/actu-call-to-get-tougher-on-bullying/story-e6freoof-1226422944446 

Human Resources: Coopers Faces Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

A worker for Coopers Brewery reportedly offered to pull down a female cleaner’s pants to spank her and also touched her inappropriately.

Jennifer Fiedler took her sexual harassment claim to the Federal Court against the company and the accused worker, Terry Allen.

Fiedler is  seeking $150,000 in damages over the alleged sexual assault. The incident in question allegedly occurred on the companies property on July,5 2010.  Fiedler was employed by Exact Cleaning Maintenance Services and was subsequently contracted to clean at the Coopers building.

Fiedler  claimed that she was performing her normal duties and entered a room looking for her mop and asked four men if they had seen her mop. Terry Allen  replied to her”No, pull down your pants and I’ll spank your bottom.” She refused his offer and Allen said

“I’ll pull them down and I’ll spank your bottom.”  When Fiedler again refused, Allen grabbed her breasts and made a groaning sound. Fiedler said the incident left her feeling “offended, humiliated, and intimidated”.

Coopers denied any liability for the incident on the basis that they took all reasonable steps to prevent Allen’s actions.

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Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/coopers-brewery-sex-calim-lawsuit/story-fn6bqpju-1226391646766

 

Human Resources: Workplace Bullying Still a Serious Issue

BullyingThe ACT Greens stated that a survey has revealed extensive bullying allegations in both the public and private sector, and a lack of reporting by victims.

135 workers in the private and public sector participated in the online- survey.Three quarters of the participants claimed to have been bullied, and most of them allege that it occurred within the last twelve months.The survey also revealed that over half of all bullying incidents were left unreported.

85% of those who reported incidents claim to have been dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the response.Majority of participants called for specialist bullying inspectors on behalf of WorkSafe ACT.

Spokesperson for the party, Amanda Bresnan says the survey signifies the need for greater victim support and prevention strategies. Bresnan stated that they are still committed to proposed legislation to deal with the problem of workplace bullying.

The legislation calls for the implementation of specialist positions and an expert advisory committee on the issue.

More information on Human Resources

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-17/workplace-bullying-still-real-problem/4016898?section=act

Human Resources: Teachers Bullied in NSW

HR Training95% of Australian educators have experienced at least one of 42 “bullying behaviours”, say researchers.

Personal confrontation and professional destabilization are most common, commonly resulting in deterioration of not only mental health, but also physical well-being.Dan Riley, Deirdre Duncan and John Edwards surveyed 2529 school educators, 83% female and 27% male.
The researchers discovered that 81% had experienced bullying from parents, and a staggering 79% named colleagues and executives, 1 in 15 being principals. Students are also bullies, with educators reporting that 75% had experienced bullying from a pupil.
Research shows that questioning of decision-making is one of the biggest bullying behaviours, followed by assignments with impossible to meet deadlines. Many of those surveyed did not realize that these behaviours were considered bullying.
Belittling of work, lack of recognition or praise, and witholding of information were also commonly reported bullying behaviours among those surveyed.
These statistics have been published by Australian Council for Educational Research.
More information on Bullying or any other Human Resources issues
Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/teachers-suffer-bullying-in-nsw-schools/story-e6freuy9-1226350155460 

Human Resources: Tribunal Awards Compensation to Nurse

HR TrainingThe Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) have made a decision in favour of a nurse who was up against the state’s health department.

They awarded the nurse over $20,000 in compensation for her claims of discrimination. The panel found that the nurse was treated unjustly because of her inability to work night shifts due to her medical condition. The tribunal decided that it was unnecessary for nurses to be available ever hour of the day, 7-days a week.

The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) felt that the ruling signifies the need for employers to be flexible to the needs of their employees. . Secretary for the QNU, Beth Mohle believes the judgement sends an important message to all employers.

Mohle discussed the recent decision will encourage employers to be more thoughtful in the action they take.However, in her opinion, the health board should have been able to apply a reasonable policy without the assistance of the court – especially when involving those with disabilities .

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Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-11/qld-health-ordered-to-pay-nurse-20k-compensation/4004898?section=qld 

Human Resources: WorkSafe Says CIT Has Inadequate Bullying Systems

Workplace BullyingACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe revealed that an investigation in to workplace bullying which was conducted at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), is now completed.The investigation was launched as a result of several ideas submitted to WorkSafe ACT by various CIT employees regarding CIT measures for handling bullying and harassment situations.

McCabe said that the WorkSafe ACT investigation determined that the CIT had  breached the Territory’s health and safety legislation.

The investigation revealed that the CIT lacks an adequate prevention and response system for incidents of bullying and harassment in the workplace.

WorkSafe issued an Improvement Notice that compels the CIT to improve a number of aspects of its systems and procedures regarding bullying and harassment of staff. The CIT has six months to fulfill all the requirements in the notice in order to ensure that the organization has an efficient prevention and management system for this human resources issue.

The report regarding the bullying and harassment systems at CIT is called WORKSAFE ACT  INVESTIGATION INTO COMPLIANCE BY THE CANBERRA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CIT) WITH ITS DUTIES UNDER THE WORK SAFETY ACT 2008 AND THE WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2011 IN RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF BULLYING AND HARASSMENT AT THE CIT . It can be accessed and downloaded in PDF format from WorkSafe’s website.

More info on Human Resources 

Source: http://www.worksafe.act.gov.au/news/view/1312/title/investigation-into-bullying-at-the

Human Resources: Greens Launch Bullying Survey

HR TrainingA new survey was launched to determine the extent in which unreported bullying incidents occur in ACT workplaces and schools.

The ACT Greens launched the online survey to find out if people were satisfied with the complaints process upon reporting incidents of intimidation. Greens MLS Amanda Bresnan maintains that the survey is completely anonymous .

Bresnan stated that they have acknowledge that the workplace has a very high incidence of bullying. Therefore, they have are trying to gather more information as to why incidents go unreported.

Bresnan added that some individuals have been dissatisfied with the response they get upon filing reports. She indicated that this dissatisfaction could be a main reason for the lack of reporting. She alleges that the government needs to do more on the issue of workplace bullying because other states have introduced expertise in the legislation which could potentially increase confidence in the system.

More info on Human Resources

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-16/act-greens-bullying-survey/3893544?section=act

Violence At Work: The Various Types

Human ResourcesThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States has established various types of the Human Resource issue– Violence At The Workplace.

The first type or, “Type 1- Criminal Intent”; the criminal has no personal or reasonable connection to the business or any employees. Instead, the incidence of violence is usually related to other crimes– this can include, but is not limited to; robbery, shoplifting, and trespassing.

A large percentage of workplace homicides are in fact, Type 1. If your business involves the handling of money or say, prescription drugs—then your business may be at a higher risk for this type of violence.

The next type of workplace violence is “Customer/Client” (Type II). This occurs when the violent offender has a legitimate connection with the business. This can include a customer, client, patient, student, or inmate.

Many customer/client incidents of violence have been known to occur in the healthcare industry. Incidents have frequently occurred in settings such as nursing homes or psychiatric facilities. People who deal with patients are the likely victims in this situation. Other roles such as Police services, flight attendant, and teachers, are at risk of becoming victims to this type of violence.

Despite the unpredictable risk of working in these fields, only approximately three percent of workplace homicides have been a result of Type II violence. However, this type of violence results is majority of non-fatal occupational violence incidents.If your job involves dealing with criminals, mentally ill, or stressed and confined individuals (Such as airline passengers after a long delayed flight), then you, or your business may be at risk for workplace violence.

Worker on Worker violence (Type III) is violence that occurs when an employee or former employee of the business, attacks or physically threatens another employee. Type III violence occurs approximately 7 percent of the time.

Any workplace can fall victim to this type of violence, however businesses that neglect to operate criminal background checks when hiring and businesses that are downsizing; are all at a higher risk.

Finally, the last type of workplace violence is Personal relationship (Type IV). This occurs when the offender does not have a relationship with the business but rather an employee within the business. This type of violence usually includes domestic violence which involves assault or threats while at work. Approximately 5 percent of all workplace violence incidents are a result of Type IV.   Workplaces that are easily accessible by the public are at a higher risk. This includes; retail businesses, food businesses, or other businesses with only one location (thus making relocation impossible.)

For More Information on Violence At Work

Human Resources: St. Johns Ambulance Under Investigation for Bullying

BullyingApproximately 11 current and former employees will be spoken to by WorkSafe to discuss their experiences of abuse at the hands of several managers.

Some of the allegations include; being locked in rooms, public berating, and a lack of shifts after clashing with managers.A man outside of the interviewees, claims he spent two days in the hospital after being forced to teach a first-aid class despite suffering an asthma attack.

First-aid trainer Anthony Mesman stated that he believed it to be one of the worst places he has even been employed by. Mesman claims that there was distinct atmosphere of fear in the workplace.There was previously a police inquiry into an alleged case where two managers locked a first-aid trainer in a room. However, the case was dropped because of a lack of witnesses.

WorkSafe acquired access to documents which prompted their investigation. The documents contain the testimonial of a former health and safety officer who claims that a manager constantly intimidates, harasses, and bullies trainers to the detriment of their health. This account also alleges that other managers support this behaviour within the training unit.

Ambulance Employees Australia secretary, Phil Cavanagh warned the CEO of St. Johns that a culture of bullying, harassing and victimising was brewing within the organization because of some managers.

Deputy CEO Theron Vassiliou said St John Ambulance Victoria claims that the organisation has a strong anti-bullying policy and any claims or allegations are promptly investigated and dealt with appropriately.

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Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/worksafe-investigates-bullying-claims-at-st-john-ambulance-victoria/story-fn7x8me2-1226229708288

Human Resources: Harassment in the Workplace

When one hears talk of “bullying”, initial thoughts can automatically equate the word with elementary school, wedgies, and being picked on by the “bigger kid”. However, bullying is a very real reality for many people – adults included—and it is still every bit as wrong as it was in elementary school. The only difference is that the school has been swapped with an office building, or a factory, or any other kind of workplace. While wedgies may not be the norm, and your lunch money may not be at risk, bullying can be every bit  as demeaning as it was in school.

 What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying includes verbal, physical, psychological abuse conducting by a higher up office employee (or employer) or another person (s) at work. If you (or a fellow employee)  are constantly subjected to hurtful remark that demean you, your work,  or really any characteristic that you identify with; then it is considered workplace bullying. If you are a manager, not dealing with workplace bullying can cause your employees to be less active, less confident, depressed, and isolated.

It is important to receive the proper Human Resources training in order to ensure that your business maintains its Workplace Compliance requirements. Moreover, it is important for employees to receive the training to ensure the well-being of all employees which subsequently would ensure that performance stays on top.Managers who have received quality training will know how to identify and deal with bullying in the workplace. Having the quality knowledge from a Bully Prevention Training course will teach you or your employees how to look out for the signs of bullying so that it can be avoided all-together.

Other Forms of harassment in the workplace include; sexual harassment and discrimination.

Sexual Harassment can include any unwelcomed physical contact, overtly sexual comments, sex based insults as well as other  inappropriate and uncomfortable acts.
It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure the well-being of employees and thus, free of sexual harassment. Having the right training in sexual harassment can teach people to understand their rights and responsibilities as dictated by the equal opportunity and discrimination legislation.

Discrimination is another form of harassment in the workplace. Receiving the proper training would provide the knowledge needed to comprehend what inappropriate workplace behaviour is, and how to avoid it. Training in discrimination and equal employment opportunity (EEO) would ensure that employees are compliant with the anti-discrimination legislation, and would enable participants to receive a Certificate of Competency. Discrimination awareness will teach people to treat everyone with respect and without harassment.

If you or an employee initially does not like the job, then they definitely don’t want to be bullied  as well. Alertforce’s Compliance Certified Human Resource courses will teach participants how to identify, deal with, and essentially—prevent workplace harassment; while maintaining a productive workforce.

Human Resources : Fellow Workers of Harassed Employee Walk Off the Job

Human Resources trainingWorkers of an Aurora employee have walked off the job after a fellow employee was fired upon making harassment claims.

The electrical worker complained that the supervisor inappropriately touched him, shot him in the head with toy gun, and poked him.  Aurora has confirmed that the worker has been sacked. The anonymous worker had already received a suspension on base pay for approximately five months when he made a claim with the Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Dino Ottavi, an advocate for the worker, stated that it was a shocking case of victimisation. He continued by stating that Aurora had avoided natural justice by firing the worker prior to the commission inquiry.

It is alleged that Aurora has paid out atleast $60,000 of the public’s money on legal defense. The discrimination claim was received much earlier than his suspension.

The worker has a family and is at risk of losing his house.

Aurora People and Culture general manager claimed that they had commissioned an external investigation which found that only one out of 17 harassment claims had any substance. The team leader was said to have been counselled on the outcomes of the investigation into harassment claims against him. Investigations into this Human Resources issue are continuing.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/12/09/283101_tasmania-news.html

Defense Force Women Subjected to Sexual Harrassment

Human Resources TrainingA majority of female learners at the Australian Defence Force Academy state the organisation is a protected and giving location, despite a high profile investigation that determined  approximately three quarters have been victims of low-level sexual harassment.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said there have been  significant improvements over the treatment of women since the Grey Review but more was needed.

”ADFA today is a vastly improved institution with a culture that has evolved significantly since the 1990s,” she continued, ”[However] our review found widespread, low-level sexual harassment, inadequate levels of supervision, particularly for first year cadets, an equity and diversity environment marked by punishment rather than engagement and cumbersome complaints procedures.Ms Broderick was queried to investigate the treatment of women at ADFA in April after a sex scandal involving Skype.

Members of her group have expressed themselves  to 300 of the 1100 cadets. The commissioner’s inquiries into the behaviour against women are continuing.

Ms Broderick made 31 recommendations and stated that the Government and Defence required recommitting to ADFA as a ”centre of tri-service excellence” as a issue of urgency. The organisation had suffered  and there was ambiguity over its role.Ms Broderick said the high incidence of low-level harassment did not involve lawless individual acts.

Sexual tales, sexy antics, sexy comments and inquiries about people’s personal lives all assisted to a sexualised environment.

Broderick stated that the vulnerability of women at ADFA to such misconduct was recognized by investigators showed by a previous cadet.That cadet had indicated in her proposal  there was a strong trend of  the commodification of women, especially as sexual objects. Female cadets  were treated as sexual objects rather than professional colleagues.

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WorkSafe Accused of Bullying

WorkSafe, the agency that investigates cases of bullying and other human resources/occupational health and safety concerns have found themselves being accused of bullying. The accusation has been subject to requests for independent inquiry.

The Age has conducted an investigation that determined that many employees find themselves working in a environment built on fear and bullying by their bosses.About 100 bullying cases have been investigated by WorkSafe over the last five years. Over 20 of the bullying incidents occurred this past year.Senior executives at WorkSafe have indicated that they were aware of approximately 8 bullying-related cases that are being investigated.

According to a former employee (in an interview with The Age), employees are very afraid to talk about the incidents of bullying.  The former staff member can’t fathom how WorkSafe can advise others how to deal with bullying incidents, if the organisation  itself  has its own cases. This investigation follows the sudden resignation of a prominent executive who was accused of bullying and discrimination.

Employee morale at WorkSafe has apparently dropped drastically, according to an employee survey. The survey indicated that one third of employees felt that their bosses did not care about them, their safety, or wellbeing.

An inspector for The Age has stated that one department of  WorkSafe contains some of the biggest bullies than in any other department. A cold, fearful environment exists that has left many employees in tears on a daily basis.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/bullying-alleged-at-worksafe-20110918-1kg5r.html

City Council Employees Face Ethics Committee

Human Resources TrainingOver 60 City Council workers from Brisbane have been caught committing various prohibited and unethical acts.

The charges are varied; ranging from impersonating a police officer to downloading pornographic material.

The council employees had received over 110 complaints for unethical behavior. 65 of those cases were confirmed while 11 are still currently being investigated.11 employees have had their employment terminated, nine resigned, 25 received a warning and an additional 20, received a final warning.

A council truck driver has since been fired for drink-driving and striking three parked cars. Another employee was let go after it was discovered that the worker accessed drug and pornography related websites.

The deputy mayor has expressed his disappointment that the actions of few have tainted the reputation of the city council.

The Brisbane City Council actively employs over 9000 workers.

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Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-city-council-employees-caught-by-ethical-standards-unit/story-e6freoof-1226134313404


Bullied Police Woman Recieves Compensation

RHuman Resources Trainingoberta Barnettt,a former policewoman has been granted over $100,000 after she complained of bullying while being a policewoman.. The Policewoman was bullied following a incident in which she refused the advances of a senior female officer.

Work Health Court had previously determined that  Barnett had been mentally injured from her experiences at work and had faced excessive punitive action from her female senior staff sergeant.Barnett faced dismissal in 2008 after she remaining on sick leave for an extended period of time.She will now receive over 90 thousand dollars in compensation for lost income. She will also receive funds to cover her medical costs.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-13/20070713bully/2793590

Human Resource Executive Sues Pacific Brands

Human Resource Training

Salley Berkeley is former executive currently in the middle of a unlawful dismissal lawsuit against Pacific Brands,   her former place of employment. The lawsuit for  $9 million was filed after  the human resources manager, found herself and her staff dismissed from their jobs. Apparently 10 HR staff members at Pacific Brands’ office will eventually lose their jobs.

Ms. Berkely claims that she’d complained to her HR manager, Melanie Allbion, about Ross Taylor (head of the underwear department at the company) who she claims bullied her. Pacific Brands has outright denied any allegations of bullying despite Berkeleys version of the events.

Berkeley had apparently requested a pay raise after being appointed to a new managerial position
According to documents presented in the lawsuit, Ms.Allibon purportedly told Berkeley that there was no more money and the options were that either she took the job or she didn’t.

Ms. Allibon also apparently supported Taylor after receiving a very negative email from Berkeley containing comments from her staff regarding their desire for a pay raise.

Taylor was (according to documents) apparently very upset over the email he received and has yet to overcome it.
A directions hearing is set for the 22nd of July.

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